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17 honest reasons to leave your job
There is one thing true of all employers in all industries in New Zealand – they will ask you why you left your last position (or why you are looking to leave) during your interview. This can be a prickly question, as you will need to be honest, but you will also need to respond in a way that doesn’t reflect badly on you.
After all, your response can help your new employer get a feel for your workplace behaviour, your expectations, your goals, and your attitude towards your colleagues. All of these traits are important in any workplace, which is why it’s such a common interview question.
Here are 17 honest and acceptable responses to help you prepare for this moment.
1. There is no room for salary growth
If you have already hit the pay ceiling at your current workplace, it’s understandable that you may seek opportunities for better remuneration.
2. A shift in location has made the commute untenable
Perhaps your workplace has shifted to a new location, or perhaps you have moved house – either way, if the change has created major difficulties in your daily commute, it is reasonable that you may wish to find employment closer to home.
3. There’s a better deal to be had
It’s rare to make a career move that is merely a sidestep – ideally, you want to be taking a step up. A better deal can be anything from more opportunities for growth and training, to a higher salary, or more benefits and perks.
4. You needed to spend time on family commitments
Sometimes, the need to look after loved ones is greater than the need for a full-time job. If you left your last position to care for a family member, your interviewer should understand that families sometimes must come first.
5. You have set new goals for yourself
Challenging yourself with new goals is another valid reason for leaving a position. Perhaps you have decided to train for a new career, or maybe you are ready to devote some time to exploration and travel. If you needed to leave a job to pursue those goals, it can show your new employer that you are dedicated to achieving what you set out to do.
6. You are overqualified for your current work
It’s not uncommon to slip into a position where you are overqualified for your role. This can happen when a job hunt takes too long, and it becomes tempting to accept whatever comes your way instead of waiting any longer. This response can show an interviewer that you know your worth and wish to challenge yourself with more appropriate projects for your skills.
7. You left a job to build your own business
More and more entrepreneurs are walking away from 9-5 office jobs to build their own businesses. This is no small feat, and whether you were successful and have now sold the company, or unfortunately are one of many who couldn’t get the venture off the ground, your interviewer should appreciate the confidence and business acumen it takes to simply try.
8. You do not enjoy your job
Even though every position has its challenges, these should also be balanced with enjoyment of the role. Without enjoyment or any form of job satisfaction, you will quickly tire of turning up every day. Searching for a new role that you can see yourself enjoying is a perfectly valid reason for leaving.
9. Your boss has moved on to a new role or company
A manager leaving their team or company is always a time of upheaval for staff. It tends to mean that change is coming, and it may make you feel like it is time to move on as well. Similarly, new management may not do things the way you feel they should be done, so it’s only natural to take the opportunity to move on before you begin to clash with your new boss.
10. The role is not what you were expecting
Whether it’s the type of projects you work on, the workplace environment, the hours, or something else, the discrepancy between what you were promised and the reality can be too high to handle.
11. You haven’t received a promotion
Promotions are the natural and expected result of hard work, time, and exceeding expectations. If you have checked all the boxes for deserving a promotion within your company – and even spoken to your boss about it – but it is still not on the cards, you have a valid reason for looking for a new role where you will be rewarded for your work.
12. Your private life has taken a back seat
Do you find yourself cancelling evening and weekend plans because you have work to do? A healthy work-life balance is important, and if working nights and weekends has become the norm, it is time to search for something that allows for a healthier lifestyle.
13. You were fired from your last position
It may be an uncomfortable truth, but it is important to be honest if you were fired from your previous position. If the firing was the result of a mistake on your part, be sure to emphasise what you have learned from the experience and how you will avoid such a mistake in future. If you feel it wasn’t your fault, then do your best to explain your perspective, and provide hard evidence if you have it.
14. You feel you need more stability in your work
Some roles offer little stability, such as if you have been freelancing and working from home. While there are certainly huge perks to this lifestyle, it can take its toll when you realise how little stability it can truly offer. If you prefer the more structured work environment, training opportunities, and reliable paycheck of a traditional role, it may be time to find a new job.
15. Your company is restructuring
A company restructure often means layoffs, and usually always involves upheaval and change. If this is on the horizon for your current workplace, you may feel more secure by searching for a new position ahead of time.
16. You are burnt out
Some high-stress jobs can lead to feeling like you’re completely burnt out. These companies tend to have a high turnover, and if taking a holiday or working with your boss to cut down on your responsibilities doesn’t help matters, it is time to look for new opportunities.
17. It simply feels like time to move on
There may be no rhyme or reason to it, but if you have been with a company for a while and simply feel like it’s time to go, you have every reason find a new position that will challenge and excite you.
Ready to move on to a new role? Speak to one of our expert consultants today.